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Research on Belief in God

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26 Oct 2011 20:48

Descender wrote:I must say that, as an atheist, I always found the "who created the creator?" argument a very weak one.

Surely if the creator is almighty, he could create itself in a way we can't grasp, or twist time in a way we can't grasp.


And this is why gods can be truly impossible to disprove. They say that you cannot prove that something doesn't exist but that isn't really true. One could say "I have put video cameras on every square inch of the planet and have can see that there are no magical horse-like creatures with a horn on their head; therefore, unicorns do not exist." That is enough to prove that they don't exist on Earth. However, in the case of a god, someone could say something like "But that is not what a unicorn is. We don't know what a unicorn looks like or what it does." It is impossible to disprove a being that is so loosely defined and anything can be explained away by saying the god is omnipotent.
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26 Oct 2011 20:53

Descender wrote:I must say that, as an atheist, I always found the "who created the creator?" argument a very weak one.

Surely if the creator is almighty, he could create itself in a way we can't grasp, or twist time in a way we can't grasp.


Its not an argument as much as a rebuttal. The righteous say that they cant fathom how the world can create itself from nothing ergo creator did it. I, or we say that we can't fathom how a creator can create himself from nothing.

The idea that a creator created himself is what's weak.

Its far more likely that nothingness slowly produce something which produced more something and over an imeasurable ammount of time created atoms and matter, and eventually life.

The alternative - that God created himself, does not involve billions of trillions of millenia, but rather a instantaneous moment.

The religious often use this boeing 747 argument, related to Aquinus watch argument, which is worth mentioning because Dawkins book, "the blind watchmaker" is a clever rebuttal in 3 words.

The idea, as you no doubt know, goes that, the world creating itself from nothing is as probable as a wind sweeping across a scrap yard and putting together a Boeing 747 plane.

So I propose, using the Boeing analogy that the 2 choices are the following.

1 if you give the wind and the scrapyard billions and billions of centuries, eventually it will put together a boeing 747 plane. - Our universe was slowly created from nothing.

2 You give the wind 1 chance to put together the plane. - God created himself and all his magical powers, from nothing.
The Hitch: Winner 2013 Vuelta cq game. Winner, Velorooms prediction game 2012, 2013. 2nd all time cq rankings.
The Father of Clean Cycling, Christophe Bassons wrote:When I look at cycling today, I get the impression that history is repeating itself: riders who are supposed to be rouleurs are climbing passes at the front of the race, and those who are supposed to be climbers are riding time trials at more than 50 kilometres per hour.

The story is beginning again, just as it did 14 years ago


journalist with integrity.
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26 Oct 2011 20:54

Martin318is wrote:a much larger percentage of people will say, "I'm a Catholic/Mormon/Muslim/Jew/etc". In thoe cases, the people have grown up with the labelled religion since birth.


I know that I'm taking this sentence out of context, but it links in with a point I wanted to make which also relates to the IQ^2 debate that the Hitch posted. Often, religious labels get attached to people because of the families or countries they were born in. Why is the UK a christian country? I guess because in the past 1,500 years Christianity has been the most prominent religion there. Many people there would probably describe themselves as Christians although their religious observance is limited to at most carol singing at Christmas.

Firstly, religion should be the choice of an individual and not some form of cultural osmosis. A year or two ago I read a book of interviews with around 20 Polish atheists and agnostics. One thing that rang a bell with me was that one of them said that many people treated him as if he were missing something like a limb. People could not understand that his atheism was a positive choice rather than a lack of belief.

Secondly, I watched the first two speakers of the IQ^2 debate. The proposal was "This house believes we would be better off without religion", which can be seen as a question of opinion and so even if they argued until the end of the solar system, there would still be holes in the arguments. Hitchens described the religious background to many conflicts. One problem with his argument (as I touched on above) is that religion interacts with other factors like nationality (and politics). For centuries, being Catholic would have been seen by Polish or Irish nationalists as part of their identity in opposition to say "British Protestantism" or "Russian Orthoxody", even if that Catholic identity did not involve any real religious belief. That is to say that religion is tied up with tribalism, which is a necessary precursor to institutionalised religion. On the other hand, it is true that religion (or at least religious labels) is used in perpetuating "tribal divisions". For example, in the Western media (unless there was a particularly in depth article, which did not occur very often) Serbs were Serbs (not Orthodox), Croatians were Croatians (not Catholic), but Bosnians were Muslim.

With regard to Dr. Smythie, who was the first to oppose the proposal. True, religious feelings have been foremost in the creation of beautiful temples. I couldn't help but feeling awe at the beauty of Chartres Cathedral. However, I also wonder about what lengths common men were put to, in order to build such monuments, since the church's power was huge. Also, a lack of religion certainly does not mean a lack of appreciation of beauty or the creative arts. I find the vast majority of religious art to be formulaic (possibly because there is so much of it) and arguably the greatest (and my favourite by a long way) from that genre is Caravaggio, who definitely was not one of the church's most beloved sons.

Smythie also argued that the proposal was senseless, since by nature we are all spiritual. My impressions are that the spirituality of many (possibly the majority of) people is a minor aspect of their lives and results in many cases from the fact that religious observance or allegiance results from the social acceptance of such acts. He seemed to argue that religious observance led to social cohesion. However, it also promoted tribalism and social control. Enough for now.
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26 Oct 2011 21:12

The Hitch wrote:Its not an argument as much as a rebuttal. The righteous say that they cant fathom how the world can create itself from nothing ergo creator did it. I, or we say that we can't fathom how a creator can create himself from nothing.

The idea that a creator created himself is what's weak.

Its far more likely that nothingness slowly produce something which produced more something and over an imeasurable ammount of time created atoms and matter, and eventually life.

The alternative - that God created himself, does not involve billions of trillions of millenia, but rather a instantaneous moment.

The religious often use this boeing 747 argument, related to Aquinus watch argument, which is worth mentioning because Dawkins book, "the blind watchmaker" is a clever rebuttal in 3 words.

The idea, as you no doubt know, goes that, the world creating itself from nothing is as probable as a wind sweeping across a scrap yard and putting together a Boeing 747 plane.

So I propose, using the Boeing analogy that the 2 choices are the following.

1 if you give the wind and the scrapyard billions and billions of centuries, eventually it will put together a boeing 747 plane. - Our universe was slowly created from nothing.

2 You give the wind 1 chance to put together the plane. - God created himself and all his magical powers, from nothing.


Wait, it just hit me. I would be better off not saying this, but it just happens that I have JUST noticed that your username refers to Christopher Hitchens and that your avatar is, in fact, a picture of him.

I will now proceed to read your post and add my comments here. I just wanted to get that out of the way. :o

EDIT:

But you are trying to grasp God, which is, according to Christianity, ultimately ungraspable.

Again, we can agree that the God hypothesis is much more improbable and ridiculous than the scientific one, but the theist might say that we don't, can't know how God works (God works in mysterious ways), so our attempt at attributing probabilities to him is useless.

Why are we arguing?
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26 Oct 2011 21:19

The Hitch wrote:Its not an argument as much as a rebuttal. The righteous say that they cant fathom how the world can create itself from nothing ergo creator did it. I, or we say that we can't fathom how a creator can create himself from nothing.

The idea that a creator created himself is what's weak.

Its far more likely that nothingness slowly produce something which produced more something and over an imeasurable ammount of time created atoms and matter, and eventually life.

The alternative - that God created himself, does not involve billions of trillions of millenia, but rather a instantaneous moment.

The religious often use this boeing 747 argument, related to Aquinus watch argument, which is worth mentioning because Dawkins book, "the blind watchmaker" is a clever rebuttal in 3 words.

The idea, as you no doubt know, goes that, the world creating itself from nothing is as probable as a wind sweeping across a scrap yard and putting together a Boeing 747 plane.

So I propose, using the Boeing analogy that the 2 choices are the following.

1 if you give the wind and the scrapyard billions and billions of centuries, eventually it will put together a boeing 747 plane. - Our universe was slowly created from nothing.

2 You give the wind 1 chance to put together the plane. - God created himself and all his magical powers, from nothing.


But you are trying to grasp God, which is, according to Christianity, ultimately ungraspable.

Again, we can agree that the God hypothesis is much more improbable and ridiculous than the scientific one, but the theist might say that we don't, can't know how God works (God works in mysterious ways), so our attempt at attributing probabilities to him is useless.

Why are we arguing?
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26 Oct 2011 21:19

The Hitch wrote:Its not an argument as much as a rebuttal. The righteous say that they cant fathom how the world can create itself from nothing ergo creator did it. I, or we say that we can't fathom how a creator can create himself from nothing.

The idea that a creator created himself is what's weak.

Its far more likely that nothingness slowly produce something which produced more something and over an imeasurable ammount of time created atoms and matter, and eventually life.

The alternative - that God created himself, does not involve billions of trillions of millenia, but rather a instantaneous moment.

The religious often use this boeing 747 argument, related to Aquinus watch argument, which is worth mentioning because Dawkins book, "the blind watchmaker" is a clever rebuttal in 3 words.

The idea, as you no doubt know, goes that, the world creating itself from nothing is as probable as a wind sweeping across a scrap yard and putting together a Boeing 747 plane.

So I propose, using the Boeing analogy that the 2 choices are the following.

1 if you give the wind and the scrapyard billions and billions of centuries, eventually it will put together a boeing 747 plane. - Our universe was slowly created from nothing.

2 You give the wind 1 chance to put together the plane. - God created himself and all his magical powers, from nothing.


Here is an argument made by Anselmus of Canterbury. It's quite famous.

That God truly exists

Therefore, Lord, you who give knowledge of the faith, give me as much knowledge as you know to be fitting for me, because you are as we believe and that which we believe. And indeed we believe you are something greater than which cannot be thought. Or is there no such kind of thing, for "the fool said in his heart, 'there is no God'" (Ps. 13:1, 52:1)? But certainly that same fool, having heard what I just said, "something greater than which cannot be thought," understands what he heard, and what he understands is in his thought, even if he does not think it exists. For it is one thing for something to exist in a person's thought and quite another for the person to think that thing exists. For when a painter thinks ahead to what he will paint, he has that picture in his thought, but he does not yet think it exists, because he has not done it yet. Once he has painted it he has it in his thought and thinks it exists because he has done it. Thus even the fool is compelled to grant that something greater than which cannot be thought exists in thought, because he understands what he hears, and whatever is understood exists in thought. And certainly that greater than which cannot be understood cannot exist only in thought, for if it exists only in thought it could also be thought of as existing in reality as well, which is greater. If, therefore, that than which greater cannot be thought exists in thought alone, then that than which greater cannot be thought turns out to be that than which something greater actually can be thought, but that is obviously impossible. Therefore something than which greater cannot be thought undoubtedly exists both in thought and in reality.
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
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26 Oct 2011 21:30

El Pistolero wrote:Here is an argument made by Anselmus of Canterbury. It's quite famous.

That God truly exists

Therefore, Lord, you who give knowledge of the faith, give me as much knowledge as you know to be fitting for me, because you are as we believe and that which we believe. And indeed we believe you are something greater than which cannot be thought. Or is there no such kind of thing, for "the fool said in his heart, 'there is no God'" (Ps. 13:1, 52:1)? But certainly that same fool, having heard what I just said, "something greater than which cannot be thought," understands what he heard, and what he understands is in his thought, even if he does not think it exists. For it is one thing for something to exist in a person's thought and quite another for the person to think that thing exists. For when a painter thinks ahead to what he will paint, he has that picture in his thought, but he does not yet think it exists, because he has not done it yet. Once he has painted it he has it in his thought and thinks it exists because he has done it. Thus even the fool is compelled to grant that something greater than which cannot be thought exists in thought, because he understands what he hears, and whatever is understood exists in thought. And certainly that greater than which cannot be understood cannot exist only in thought, for if it exists only in thought it could also be thought of as existing in reality as well, which is greater. If, therefore, that than which greater cannot be thought exists in thought alone, then that than which greater cannot be thought turns out to be that than which something greater actually can be thought, but that is obviously impossible. Therefore something than which greater cannot be thought undoubtedly exists both in thought and in reality.


Ah yes, the Ontological Argument.

Many philosophers have rebutted it in the past, of them I'd like to single out Kant, who pointed at the most clear fallacy of it: the assumption on Anselm's part that existence is (must be) more perfect than non-existence.
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26 Oct 2011 21:31

Descender wrote:Wait, it just hit me. I would be better off not saying this, but it just happens that I have JUST noticed that your username refers to Christopher Hitchens and that your avatar is, in fact, a picture of him.



Well that surprising. I though you knew when you posted this .

The Hitch wrote:Obviously there is someone I would credit ahead of Harris and Dawkins;).


Descender wrote:
Both of them are great. Hitchens is also good, but not nearly as good as Harris, Dawkins or Dennett.


Seems like a funny coincidence now.


Why are we arguing?


Because you said Hitchens was worse than Dawkins and Harris. :p

Nah jj, because its good to argue about these things. I enjoy it anyway.



Tank Engine wrote:I know that I'm taking this sentence out of context, but it links in with a point I wanted to make which also relates to the IQ^2 debate that the Hitch posted. Often, religious labels get attached to people because of the families or countries they were born in. Why is the UK a christian country? I guess because in the past 1,500 years Christianity has been the most prominent religion there. Many people there would probably describe themselves as Christians although their religious observance is limited to at most carol singing at Christmas.

Firstly, religion should be the choice of an individual and not some form of cultural osmosis. A year or two ago I read a book of interviews with around 20 Polish atheists and agnostics. One thing that rang a bell with me was that one of them said that many people treated him as if he were missing something like a limb. People could not understand that his atheism was a positive choice rather than a lack of belief.

Secondly, I watched the first two speakers of the IQ^2 debate. The proposal was "This house believes we would be better off without religion", which can be seen as a question of opinion and so even if they argued until the end of the solar system, there would still be holes in the arguments. Hitchens described the religious background to many conflicts. One problem with his argument (as I touched on above) is that religion interacts with other factors like nationality (and politics). For centuries, being Catholic would have been seen by Polish or Irish nationalists as part of their identity in opposition to say "British Protestantism" or "Russian Orthoxody", even if that Catholic identity did not involve any real religious belief. That is to say that religion is tied up with tribalism, which is a necessary precursor to institutionalised religion. On the other hand, it is true that religion (or at least religious labels) is used in perpetuating "tribal divisions". For example, in the Western media (unless there was a particularly in depth article, which did not occur very often) Serbs were Serbs (not Orthodox), Croatians were Croatians (not Catholic), but Bosnians were Muslim.

With regard to Dr. Smythie, who was the first to oppose the proposal. True, religious feelings have been foremost in the creation of beautiful temples. I couldn't help but feeling awe at the beauty of Chartres Cathedral. However, I also wonder about what lengths common men were put to, in order to build such monuments, since the church's power was huge. Also, a lack of religion certainly does not mean a lack of appreciation of beauty or the creative arts. I find the vast majority of religious art to be formulaic (possibly because there is so much of it) and arguably the greatest (and my favourite by a long way) from that genre is Caravaggio, who definitely was not one of the church's most beloved sons.

Smythie also argued that the proposal was senseless, since by nature we are all spiritual. My impressions are that the spirituality of many (possibly the majority of) people is a minor aspect of their lives and results in many cases from the fact that religious observance or allegiance results from the social acceptance of such acts. He seemed to argue that religious observance led to social cohesion. However, it also promoted tribalism and social control.
Enough for now.


Poland and Hitchens. i dont think ive ever seen a post more made for me.
The Hitch: Winner 2013 Vuelta cq game. Winner, Velorooms prediction game 2012, 2013. 2nd all time cq rankings.
The Father of Clean Cycling, Christophe Bassons wrote:When I look at cycling today, I get the impression that history is repeating itself: riders who are supposed to be rouleurs are climbing passes at the front of the race, and those who are supposed to be climbers are riding time trials at more than 50 kilometres per hour.

The story is beginning again, just as it did 14 years ago


journalist with integrity.
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26 Oct 2011 21:40

The Hitch wrote:Well that surprising. I though you knew when you posted this .





Seems like a funny coincidence now.



Because you said Hitchens was worse than Dawkins and Harris. :p

Nah jj, because its good to argue about these things. I enjoy it anyway.





Poland and Hitchens. i dont think ive ever seen a post more made for me.


I didn't know, and in fact now that I think about it I was a bit put off by your saying you credited someone ahead of Dawkins and Harris (I thought, "am I supposed to know who?" :D).

I know, I enjoy it as well, otherwise I wouldn't have opened this thread. It is just odd that we're discussing each other given our shared views.

- Then again, there are luckily few faith-heads on this forum, or they are hidden and quiet. As well they should.
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26 Oct 2011 22:57

The Hitch wrote:Poland and Hitchens. i dont think ive ever seen a post more made for me.


Hope you liked it. I'm not holding my breath for a post on Wales and Jacek Dukaj.
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26 Oct 2011 23:48

Tank Engine wrote:Hope you liked it. I'm not holding my breath for a post on Wales and Jacek Dukaj.


Wait a minute. You actually speak Polish?:eek:

I mean I heard stories that these people exist somewhere, but I never actually believed them ( I mean non natives who managed to learn the language).
The Hitch: Winner 2013 Vuelta cq game. Winner, Velorooms prediction game 2012, 2013. 2nd all time cq rankings.
The Father of Clean Cycling, Christophe Bassons wrote:When I look at cycling today, I get the impression that history is repeating itself: riders who are supposed to be rouleurs are climbing passes at the front of the race, and those who are supposed to be climbers are riding time trials at more than 50 kilometres per hour.

The story is beginning again, just as it did 14 years ago


journalist with integrity.
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27 Oct 2011 00:22

IF God exists, and I am a believer, does it really matter where He came from?
I just don't know the answer to questions like this, not sure it is possible to know. It is not really possible to know anything from a long time ago 100% whether we are talking religion or science.
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27 Oct 2011 00:40

Descender wrote:Then again, there are luckily few faith-heads on this forum, or they are hidden and quiet. As well they should.


Careful - thats the sort of thing I was talking about earlier :D
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27 Oct 2011 00:53

Tank Engine wrote:I know that I'm taking this sentence out of context, but it links in with a point I wanted to make which also relates to the IQ^2 debate that the Hitch posted. Often, religious labels get attached to people because of the families or countries they were born in. Why is the UK a christian country? I guess because in the past 1,500 years Christianity has been the most prominent religion there. Many people there would probably describe themselves as Christians although their religious observance is limited to at most carol singing at Christmas.


Its an interesting question to think about this: If people were born with no religious influence and only had the concept (of any particular religion) introduced to them when they were.. say.. 20yrs old, would any religions exist after a few generations?

If not, what would?
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27 Oct 2011 00:55

Why are there no dinosaurs in the bible :confused:
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27 Oct 2011 01:08

TeamSkyFans wrote:Why are there no dinosaurs in the bible :confused:


Well there's some mention of monster like creatures in the Bible like the Leviathan, but yeah no Dino's.
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
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27 Oct 2011 01:18

TeamSkyFans wrote:Why are there no dinosaurs in the bible :confused:


I don't know.
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27 Oct 2011 01:32

TeamSkyFans wrote:Why are there no dinosaurs in the bible :confused:


Noah left them off the ark. Miscommunication with the sail time, a standard problem in that sort of situation. The Tyrannosaurus Rex would not have fit anyway, but that's another story. In the end, Noah decided it was easier to not mention the dinosaurs instead of explaining the mistake.

He also neglected to mention that he dropped off half the dangerous animals on a big, cursed island in the far far south.
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27 Oct 2011 02:12

TeamSkyFans wrote:Why are there no dinosaurs in the bible :confused:


Popular question in the forum it looks like, TSF. Extinct by then? I dunno. Someone mentioned Leviathan. But there is also a Behemoth mentioned with a description:

Job 40:15-17
15 “Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;


Sounds like a large creature. But Dino?

Here's an interesting thought. BroDeal mentioned no T-Rex cos he would have been too big. Well, how about young creatures that were far from full grown? They would have taken up less space, and would have needed less to eat.
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27 Oct 2011 02:23

If one died and went to hell, wouldn't the devil reward him/her for their work on earth as opposed to torturing them for all of eternity? The idea of burning in hell or whatever never made any sense to me. Especially for satanists
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